Is Russia Assassinating Pro-Russian Ukrainians to Make Ukraine Look Bad?

What do you do when you are a weak government and you get in bed with right-wing gangs who unleash a campaign of political assassinations across the country?

A.) You put an end to their reign of terror and restore the rule of law? B.) You protect the right-wingers and pin the blame on your enemies?

No awards for getting it right.

It is transparent that in the aftermath of Ukraine’s Maidan overthrow its right-wing radicals waged a murderous campaign of terror against people who may have favored the previous state of things. (Funny thing. It turns out that when you cover for right-wing gangsters when they massacre one hundred people and then praise them for burning alive a few dozen more it serves to embolden them.) 

What was less apparent is that the unofficial (but government-tolerated) campaign of repression never truly ended but continues at a lower frequency (as opponents have learned to keep their mouth shut) to this day. Also it is clear they’re integral to Ukraine’s post-Maidan order and that Kiev has no will or intention to reign them in.

On March 5th a Ukrainian attorney of law Yuri Grabovsky disappeared. He was the defense attorney for one of the two Russian citizens who are currently on trial in Ukraine after they were captured in Donbass in May 2015. Ukraine claims the two are active duty officers of the Russian army but Russia insists they had resigned from the military before joining Donbass rebels.

This week Grabovsky’s body was found “buried in an abandoned garden south of Kiev with signs of a violent death and a gunshot wound.”

An attorney for Russian volunteers shot dead and dumped in a shallow grave in a country with a history of right-wing repression against visible ‘pro-Russian’ Ukrainians. An open-and-shut case, right?

Well not according to the guy in charge of the investigation. NYT: 

The prosecutor [Anatoly V. Matios, Ukraine’s chief military prosecutor]  refused to confirm any Russian role in the murder but said it was well planned and well financed. In an interview with the Ukrainian news channel, Mr. Matios said the operation had been planned by Russian special services.

The suspicion of Russian involvement comes in part from a belief that Moscow is trying to undermine Ukraine’s leadership in Western eyes. 

That’s right. Russia is bumping off ‘its people’ in Ukraine to make Ukraine look bad.

The most absurd thing about it is that outlets like The New York Times and The Guardian are relaying this with a straight face. Without noting how unlikely that is and without reminding readers of the context  the long running campaign of assasination against real and perceived opponents of post-Maidan state of things in Ukraine.


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